Ideas, insights and inspirations.

I remember walking along the New York City High Line — a Queens railway turned scenic nature path through Manhattan — and looking up to see one of Spotify’s vibrantly colored billboards on the side of a nearby building. It captured my attention. It made me laugh — not just because it was witty, but because it was relatable. As I took in the ad that reflected absurd and comical listening habits Spotify had observed from users over the year, it made me recant my own Spotify experience and reflect on what my own musical habits say about me. The theme of Spotify’s ad campaign this year is “2018 Goals”, recognizing the ups and downs we’ve experienced in our country and across the globe this year and translating user data into clever headlines that humorously offer suggestions for embracing everything 2018 throws our way. “This year, by looking at our own data and the external data, observing the world, there … Continue reading

Posted in: ,

The title of this blog, “Find Meaning in Your Social Media Analytics” is kind of broad and could probably be interpreted in many ways. Upon coming across the blog title, one might think it was about discovering a secret way of distilling all that unruly social media web traffic into coherent and meaningful data reports. Others may think it is a blog about some new age digital strategy that will help you find your inner social media analytics chi that simplifies the way you look at clicks, likes and impressions. Although these ideas sound great and might be topics for future AHA blog posts, this one is simply about how to help you locate and find meaning in the social media analytics tools provided in your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  So let’s get started with this simple road map and light overview of the Facebook and Twitter analytics platforms that may help you make more sense of why you are … Continue reading

Posted in: , ,

When it comes to higher education and small and midsize business (SMB) lead harvesting, it is not uncommon to see many sub-domains working in tandem with main marketing websites to generate traffic and inquiries. Add in third party landing page(s), social media posts and email and paid campaigns to the mix and the chances for additional leads ensue. You can only hope that organizational structure dictates that sales and marketing lead activities are well documented and happen in focused, centralized silos for peak follow up, optimized communication and final conversion. But… this is not always the case because more than often leads are lost when a team member who knows set processes and has intricate local lead gen knowledge moves on or gets promoted before the lead can be converted. Leads can also end up in limbo due to bad lead management with multiple departments handling the same lead request utilizing different strategies resulting in chaos and failure. Does this sound … Continue reading

Posted in:

In an earlier post on preserving session state for analytics sake, I described a challenging technical hurdle, and mentioned the importance of thinking outside the box when researching possible solutions. Recently, a similar challenge presented itself. We were moving a client’s blogs from their servers to ours, and they wanted to change the URL for one of them. Generally, this is not a problem. However, the blog in question had garnered a great deal of social proof (Facebook and LinkedIn shares), and those share counts would be lost with the URL switch. Since social proof is increasingly important in winning customers in the Digital Age, we needed to ensure that this didn’t happen. A cursory search said that this couldn’t be done, as social proof counts were all based on the domain name in the URL. Being creative problem-solvers, we refused to accept that. By reframing the problem, we found a way to alter the URL of the social share, based on the original post … Continue reading

Posted in:

There is an old saying here in Pittsburgh: you can’t get there from here, which refers to the difficulty in getting around due to all of the rivers and streams in the area. I don’t think it’s said to be discouraging, as much as it is said out of laziness — directions tend to be a bit convoluted*. However, if there’s a will, there’s a way. In my prior work with a university, I was confronted with a technical challenge. How could they follow a prospective student’s path from their website, through an embedded third-party inquiry form, and back to the academic program landing page they started on, without losing session state? Oh, and they wanted to capture this in their usual Google Analytics dashboard. No pressure there. Conventional wisdom dictated that this was not possible; the student would be considered a third-party referral upon return from the form submission. I wasn’t convinced. After a bit of research, I found the solution … Continue reading

Businesses spend money on marketing channels to attract right-fit prospects and take a desired action on their website, e.g. make a purchase, request information, download a pdf, sign-up for newsletter, etc… Each of these actions when completed is counted as a ‘goal’. However, most visitors to the website find their way to the goal after interacting with various marketing channels. Google Analytics (GA) provides a way to help understand and evaluate these encounters. All this digital touch-point information is captured during each website visit but standard GA reports do not provide this information without some additional setup. Using the ‘Goals’ feature in GA helps measure the above engagements and understand their contribution in meeting the business objectives. Setting up goals is easy in GA profile admin. There are existing templates to choose as well as the ability to create new ones. The goals overview report under the conversion section is the starting place to check goal completion trends, compare relationships … Continue reading

When launching a new marketing campaign, especially in Higher Education, tracking code and tag placement on websites, landing pages, blogs, emails and all pieces of the campaign are critical to evaluating campaign effectiveness and success. The process to set up and test this can be very time consuming and challenging. Coordination with the client marketing and IT departments, any third-party websites or services for installation, testing and corrections can easily result in delays to the campaign launch due to the complexity. Many technology vendors have come up with solutions to minimize/eliminate this problem. They utilize code snippets that enables users to make changes to data collection code remotely through a simple admin interface. These solutions were available at a cost and eCommerce sites were their main users. Now, with no-cost availability of tools like Google Tag Manager (GTM), Digital Marketers for Higher Education can take advantage of this opportunity. Any website that is already using Google Analytics (GA) can easily … Continue reading

Higher education institutes are generating data from a variety of sources: CRM data, web analytics, enrollment data, student data, LMS data and alumni data. All this information is causing a data glut where data is being gathered, stored and forgotten due to a variety of reasons. According to EDUCAUSE, data in numerous cases is only being used to satisfy reporting requirements and neither being actively used for strategic purposes (this includes marketing, enrollment and resource optimization) nor is it being used effectively for making predictions or triggering proactive decisions on imminent issues. Purchasing a few tools for data analytics is easy however the real value lies in having the curiosity to ask the right questions and the skill to delve into data to find answers. Here are a few strategies when looking into higher ed data. Social Media Look at the insight dashboard of your social media platform. Analyze which posts had the most engagement rate (a combination of likes, … Continue reading

Posted in: ,

Last Thursday, we had an interesting monthly performance report (ROI) meeting with a client. In that process, we made several observations about traffic downturns on a particular program, which defied the historic trend data. At the same time, there seemed to be an across-the-board decline in leads, which also ran counter to seasonal data for this time of year. On one hand, one could consider the marketing activity to be a failure. But, with ROI analysis is always best to avoid a snap judgment, given the number of moving parts in any integrated campaign. Life in the marketing fast lane is more complex than ever. So, we began asking more questions. First, we queried the client to see if they had seen anything similar in their own sales reports. No joy. In fact, it was just the opposite. Sales (based on internal tracking) were generally up over the previous month. Que? Second, we asked about a recent in-house update to … Continue reading

As the oldest of six children, I’m a classic “first-born” with all the characteristics that come with that territory. And, because I was the eldest, I was frequently assigned special duties to help my mother run the household. Much of what is most important in ROI, I learned from her. Here are four “mom-isms” that apply to marketing ROI. Timing is everything. I learned early to shop on certain days for the best sale prices. The same is true for ROI. You can “shop” your metrics every day, but the price will be higher. You’ll sink more time into trying to make sense of micro-events that are often misleading. Don’t make yourself crazy. Instead, pull your data on the same day every month and monitor macro-trends. You’ll be on firmer ground for long-term decision making. Plan ahead. Do you find yourself down a different metrics rabbit hole everyday? Are your stakeholders making different requests each day/week/month for analytics reports? Like the … Continue reading